A hymn for use in support of relief efforts for Afghan and other refugees.
Tune: ABERYSTWYTH 77.77 D by Joseph Parry, 1879 ("Watchman, Tell Us of the Night" or "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," # 479, United Methodist Hymnal).
God, how can we comprehend— though we've seen them times before--
Lines of people without end fleeing danger, want, and war?
They seek safety anywhere, hoping for a welcome hand!
Can we know the pain they bear? Help us, Lord, to understand!
You put music in their souls; now they struggle to survive.
You gave each one gifts and goals; now they flee to stay alive.
God of outcasts, may we see how you value everyone,
For each homeless refugee is your daughter or your son.
Lord, your loving knows no bounds; you have conquered death for all.
May we hear beyond our towns to our distant neighbors' call.
Spirit, may our love increase; may we reach to all your earth,
Till your whole world lives in peace; till we see each person's worth.
Biblical References: Luke 15:1, Matthew 25:31-46, John 3:16; Colossians 1:20; John 14:26-27.
Text: Copyright © by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 1999, rev. ed. 2001. All rights reserved. Copied from Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, Geneva Press. 2000. Email: Bruce.Gillette@ecunet.org.
Permission is given by the author for free use by any congregation supporting UMCOR's and the ecumenical relief efforts for refugees. Please include the above copyright and contact information (in smaller type) when copying the hymn text or sharing it with others. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the co-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman, NJ and author of Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship (Geneva Press, 2000).
Photo: Family who arrived to the Mashlak Camp for displaced near the western Afghan city of Herat in July 2001. The area where the camp sits is like a dessert and summers are terrible hot and dry here but during winter people die from temperatures below 0 C. Credit: Nils Carstensen/ACT International